He and I had known each other for two years. His birth date was exactly six years and eleven months before me, but I could accept that. Our relationship had blossomed from one of lust and like, into full on love. I had met his parents, and he had met mine. Everyone got along, and pronounced it grand.
We were engaged to be married in the spring, a time of awakening, a time of refresh. He bent down on one knee and asked me to be his Misses. How could I refuse? We set the date for summer, with only three months to prepare. The decorations, the flowers, the food… it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was him and I, and the life we would share. He wanted to give me everything I wanted: the house, the car, and the ring. I was less inclined to these things, happy with apartment living, riding the bus, and a hand-me-down ring from his Scottish Great-Grandmother.
He set the bank appointment for Monday at three o’clock. He wanted a mortgage, because that’s what happily married couples do. They buy a house they cannot afford and are forever indebted to their lenders. A mortgage in both names is more binding than any gold band.
I sat waiting in the reception room, tapping my manicured pointer on my watch. The smaller hand was advancing on the three, and I felt some annoyance. He was my love, but he was rarely prompt.
The bank manager came out and introduced himself. His tie was skinny and short. His hair was matted and his glasses thick. The bank manager invited me into his office and held the door as I walked past. I thought he attempted to smell my hair as I passed, but to this day, I cannot be sure.
I sat in the chair opposite and compared his wall clock to my wristwatch. I smiled politely and made excuses for my beloved. He said we could get started on the documents if I could just confirm a few things. He asked for my address, date of birth and social insurance number. I provided the numbers, my mouth spewing the digits before my brain could catch up. He checked their accuracy against his computer screen and then asked for my fiancé’s information.
I loved saying “fiancé”. I used it as many times as I could in every conversation. I wanted everyone to know that somebody loved me so much they actually wanted to marry me.
I read his information from the post-it note he had given me that morning: “Number 312 at 1280 Main Street. May 1, 1975. 675 887 924.”
The bank manager paused. He looked up at his computer screen, and then asked me to repeat the information, specifically his date of birth.
“May 1, 1975.”
The bank manager turned his computer screen toward me and pointed at the date: May 1, 1955.
“That’s the date of birth we have on file.”
The answer hit me like a ton of bricks, and all at once I remembered: the greying hair, the gaited walk, the faint smell of Old Spice.
He arrived within seconds, my mouth still agape. My eyes batted like someone was spraying me with a hose. He sat down beside me, put his hand on my knee and kissed me quickly on the cheek. The bank manager stood and shook his hand. My mouth was parched and I couldn’t form a word to say.
The bank manager faced the computer screen toward us again and pointed at the date: May 1, 1955. My fiancé chuckled as he dug his wallet from his back pocket and passed his ID to the bank manager.
“Sometimes the information we have is incorrect”, the bank manager explained with indifference.
My fiancé looked over at me, slunk deep in my chair. “You didn’t really think I was 54, did you?”
I forced myself to laugh heartily, while climbing from the recesses of the chair. “No.”